I very much enjoyed Lee Crocket's presentation on creating 21st Century Schools. Some points I thought were well pointed out and presented were:
21st Century skills are:
These are generally very different goals than the short term ones, because of standardized testing. How do we get away from drilling our students for completing curriculum and shift into a 21st Century environment?
Studies have already been proven that students retain 90% of what they learn when they simulate a real world experience, when they do things themselves, and when they teach what they need to know to someone else. How much of a student's day is involved in this type of learning, vs. the traditional of lecture, notes and maybe some photos?
The way to solve this, Crocket states, is to have students create. He shared a graph of an increase in jobs since the 1980's when computers were introduced because of creativity-based jobs. But schools don't usually have time for this, because of curricular goals. Crocket said, "No one ignores its own research as much as those in education." It reminded me of this quote by Albert Einstein, "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."
So how can we break the educational molds we have been pushed into? How can we motivate our students to learn, be curious, inventive and also do well on tests? How can this all apply to Judaic studies?
For Tanach, I think chavruta learning is one way to begin. Providing students with abilities to learn on their own using multi-media tools/web pages dedicated to different Biblical subjects where much information can be gleaned independently, combined with designated discussions, debates, presentations, technology and multi-media tools, can revamp traditional schooling into the 21st century schools that we all would like to see more of. Jewish history and Jewish law can be brought to life with real world dilemmas and project based learning. As Jews, we are constantly aware of ethics, actions and accountability. Asking our students to bring these lessons to life in ways that are relevant to their lives will bring the 21st century tools into the Judaic studies classroom. With these methods of learning, both curricular goals and 21st century ones can be accomplished, motivating our students to become successful, contributing global citizens.
Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 21stcenturyfluency.com